Bowdoin Organic Garden

Syrup Synopsis

Story posted March 30, 2012

Two hundred gallons of sap. Fifty hours by the fire. Dozens or syrupy smiles. The 2012 syrup season was challenging, fun, sweet and very public. The sap started to run a few weeks earlier than is normal for this area, and the temperatures spiked mid-season, making for some summer-like days out in the sun by the fire. We had ten extra taps set this year, though we made less syrup than last year over-all.  Bummer.  But three gallons is better than no gallons! The syrup we did make is of a much higher quality thanks to our state-of-the-art boiling station! We added a chimney and tarp roof to keep smoke away from the boiling sap and debris out of the sweet liquid.

Maine Maple Sunday was on Sunday, March 25th and we had our own small gathering on campus. Faculty and staff, students and curious community members joined in the fun and sampled freshly made pancakes, warm syrup, and spruce needle tea (red spruce needles seeped in clear sap-very tasty and medicinal!). At one point, there were six youngsters under the age of six, eight parents, four students, two organic gardeners, and three friends all huddled under the tarp and around the steamy sap pan!  The day was cold and damp but that didn't prevent the syrup-crazed among us from having a great time.

What else is going on at the BOG? Glad you asked! We've started all our onions, leeks and shallots, the first round of broccoli, kale, chard, lettuce heads, scallions and parsley, all eggplants and peppers, and a trial run of rhubarb plants in our neighbor's greenhouse.  We are still trying to find our own space to transport our seed trays when our neighbor runs out of room, but it certainly is encouraging to see little green sprouts poking through black soil!

"The 2012 syrup season was challenging, fun, sweet and very public."

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